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Special Advisers

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if (a) his special advisers and (b) his Department's press office commented on the report on engineering standards on the London Underground by Parsons Brinckerhoff Ltd. commissioned by Bob Kiley (i) before and (ii) after the report had been published by Transport for London and London Transport; [9902]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 24 October 2001]: Press officers, and special advisers, brief the press and comment on matters relating to the range of the Department's responsibilities, in accordance with the guidance on the work of the Government information service.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the procedures for Ministers approving comments to the press made by (a) his Department's press office and (b) special advisers. [9901]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 24 October 2001]: Staff in the Directorate of Communication and special advisers are authorised to contact the media, clearing statements with Ministers as required, in accordance with the guidance on the work of the Government information service.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will place in the Library a copy of the record kept under clause 9 of the code of conduct for special advisers of contacts between his special advisers and the news media since July. [8222]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 18 October 2001]: All civil servants, including special advisers, are expected to keep departmental heads of information informed of contacts with media. Details of such contacts are for internal purposes only.

Jo Moore

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if he will publish the replies to the e-mail sent to officials in his Department by Jo Moore at 14.55 pm on 11 September; [9630]

25 Oct 2001 : Column: 395W

Mr. Byers: Under paragraph 2 of Part II of the "Code of Practice on Access to Government Information", it is not the practice to disclose details of internal communications.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if the Permanent Secretary to the DTLR had a meeting with the DTLR's press officer, Charlotte Morgan, about her conduct in relation to complying with requests from Ms Jo Moore; [9898]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 24 October 2001]: It is not the usual practice to disclose details of internal meetings. This is in accordance with Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 22 October 2001, Official Report, column 98W, when (a) the Permanent Secretary and (b) he were told of the existence of Ms Moore's e-mail of 11 September to Alun Evans. [10222]

Mr. Byers: Under Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information it is not the practice to disclose details of internal communications.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 22 October 2001, Official Report, column 98W, if, based on a pro-rata full-time salary equivalent, Alun Evans' salary exceeded that of Jo Moore on 11 September. [10224]

Mr. Byers: Details of salaries and comparisons between them are confidential.

25 Oct 2001 : Column: 396W

Railtrack

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what guarantees the Government will give to credit ratings agencies in order to restore investment grade rating to the successor company to Railtrack; [9000]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. Hendrick) on 23 October 2001, Official Report, columns 195–97W.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on what date the concept of a not-for-profit company to take over the rail network from Railtrack was first considered by his Department. [8999]

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when (a) Ministers in his Department and (b) an official in his Department last contacted Railtrack before 6 October; and what was discussed. [8947]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Members to the statement made to the House by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 15 October 2001, Official Report, column 954.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the changes to legislation or regulations affecting Railtrack since May 1997, indicating in each case the body responsible for the change. [8948]

Mr. Jamieson: The table lists the information requested.

Changes to legislation/regulations affecting Railtrack since May 1997

Legislation/regulationsBody responsible
The Railway Safety (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 1997 (SI 1997 No. 553)—made on 28 February 1997, came into force on 10 May 1997 The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions on the formal recommendation of the Health and Safety Commission under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Finance Act 1997Her Majesty's Treasury
The Railways Regulations 1998 (SI 1998 No. 1340)The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, to implement European Directives 95/18/EC and 95/19/EC
The Railways (Amendment) Regulations 1998 (SI 1998 No. 1519)The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
The Competition Act 1998The Department of Trade and Industry
The Railways (Rateable Values) (Amendment) Order 1999 (SI 1999 No. 1003)The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and the Welsh Office
The Railway Safety Regulations 1999 (SI 1999 No. 2244)The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions on the formal recommendation of the Health and Safety Commission under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Railways Act 1993 (Consequential Modifications) (No. 2) Order 1999 (SI 1999 No. 1443)The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
The Health and Safety (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999 2597)The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
The Greater London Authority Act 1999The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
The Railways (Safety Case) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000 No. 2688)The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions on the formal recommendation of the Health and Safety Commission under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
The Railtrack plc (Rateable Value) (Wales) Order 2000 (SI 2000 No. 555)The National Assembly for Wales
The Railways (Rateable Values) (England) Order 2000 (SI 2000 949)The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
The Railways (Interoperability) (Notified Bodies) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000 No. 1674)The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
The Transport Act 2000The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
The Railways (Closure Provisions) (Exemptions) (St. Pancras) Order 2001 (SI 2001 No. 1768)The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
The Railway Pensions (Designation, Substitution and Miscellaneous Provisions) Order 2001 (SI 2001 No. 2264)The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions
The Capital Allowances Act 2001Her Majesty's Treasury
The Railway Administration Order Rules 2001 (SI 2001 No. 3352)The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions

25 Oct 2001 : Column: 397W

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the capital projects to which Railtrack plc was committed at 1 April, indicating their estimated dates of completion. [8952]

Mr. Jamieson: Railtrack's 2001 Network Management Statement published in May this year listed its committed enhancement schemes, and expenditure plans for maintenance and renewal of the network, including investment. The Network Management Statement is available on Railtrack's website www.railtrack.co.uk. I shall also arrange for a copy to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he decided to seek to appoint an administrator for Railtrack. [8946]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made to the House by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 15 October 2001, Official Report, column 954.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will announce the proposed new structure for the successor company to Railtrack plc; and if he will consult on the options. [9779]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 23 October 2001]: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 23 October 2001, Official Report, columns 195–97W.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much public money is to be made available to Railtrack plc in administration and its successor in the (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03 financial years; and when the next payment is due. [9782]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 23 October 2001]: The Government have committed to provide the Railway administrators with the financial support necessary to ensure that the rail network can remain fully operational throughout the administration of Railtrack plc.

During administration, Railtrack plc are entitled to receive network grants from the Strategic Rail Authority to the amount and profile agreed as part of the Rail Regulator's October 2000 Periodic Review and the 2 April agreement between Railtrack and Government. A payment of £162 million will be paid as part of these agreements when requested by the administrators. The right to receive these network grant payments will be transferred to Railtrack's successor company.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what decision-making structure has been put in place to decide on new investment plans by Railtrack plc in administration. [9781]

25 Oct 2001 : Column: 398W

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 23 October 2001]: The Government have committed to provide the railway administrators with the financial support necessary to ensure that operations continue on a 'business as usual' basis during administration.

Work on the development of new investment plans will continue on the same basis as before administration. The Strategic Rail Authority's forthcoming Strategic Plan will prioritise investment plans in terms of value for money offered to both rail users and the taxpayer. It will also outline its emerging plans on the framework for delivering major investments through Special Purpose financing vehicles.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what guidance he has given to Ernst and Young in connection with their appointment as Railtrack's administrators and on the successor company to which they will transfer Railtrack's operations and assets. [10190]

Mr. Jamieson: My right hon. Friend has issued no such guidance.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has for the streamlining of regulations following the creation of the proposed successor to Railtrack. [10193]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made to the House by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 15 October 2001, Official Report, column 954, as well as the written answer given on 23 October 2001, Official Report, columns 195–97W.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions who will set the performance targets for the successor company to Railtrack referred to in his statement of 15 October. [10194]

Mr. Jamieson: The setting of performance targets is the responsibility of the Rail Regulator. The Government have stated our intention to streamline the existing regulatory structure.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when Railtrack in administration and the Government will settle claims from the injured and the families of those killed in recent rail crashes. [10196]

Mr. Spellar: Claims against Railtrack plc (in Railway Administration) will continue to be dealt with through and in accordance with the Claims Allocation and Handling Agreement.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the Government's estimate is of the costs of settling all the claims against Railtrack from (a) those injured and (b) the families of those killed in recent rail crashes. [10197]

Mr. Spellar: The apportionment of liability between the parties is yet to be fully settled.

25 Oct 2001 : Column: 399W

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when the Government gave a guarantee to enable Railtrack in administration to borrow £800 million. [10198]

Mr. Spellar: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 17 October 2001, Official Report, column 1230W.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what role Ms Jo Moore played in the decision to take Railtrack into administration; and what advice she gave about how to break the news to the media. [9836]

Mr. Byers: I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 22 October 2001, Official Report, column 95W.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which (a) special advisers and (b) other staff within his Department have been authorised to brief Labour hon. Members on the recent insolvency of Railtrack; and if he has given permission for (i) Mr. Dan Corry and (ii) Mr. Michael Dugher of his Department to appear as contact points for briefing Labour hon. Members on briefing documents sent out since 8 October to Labour hon. Members; and if he will make a statement. [9469]

Mr. Byers: The Code of Conduct for special advisers expressly provides that special advisers may help to brief Party MPs and officials on issues of Government policy. Mr. Corry and Mr. Dugher are special advisers.

Other staff have not been authorised to brief Labour hon. Members on the recent administration of Railtrack.


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